Research: Will Cryptocurrency payments become a reality on the high street?

Data Insights, Small Business Advice 12 February 2018
cryptocurrency payments research

Cryptocurrency payments will be a reality on the high street within two years, say SME owners. Study from Paymentsense also reveals how other alternative currencies have already established a foothold. But are cryptocurrencies ever going to replace card readers and mobile card machines

Over a third (35%) of SME owners expect cryptocurrency payments to become a reality on the high street within two years, according to new research* from card machine provider Paymentsense. Some small business owners are even more optimistic about the its potential, with over a fifth (21%) predicting that cryptocurrency will start appearing within one year.

Despite these bold predictions, the study revealed hesitation amongst SMEs to take the plunge and start accepting the payment method. Only one-in-ten small business owners said they already take cryptocurrency payments (13%), with a further quarter (25%) believing that it will never hit the high street.

The recent volatility of Bitcoin doesn’t seem to have discouraged SME owners when it comes to their own cryptocurrency investment, however. Almost six in ten (59%) said they’d consider investing in it, with approaching a fifth (18%) already investing.

International and Premiership footballer Thomas Hal-Robson-Kanu founded The Turmeric Co. in 2016 said: “We started taking cryptocurrency payments at the end of 2017, and believe they are going to revolutionise global transactions for businesses at all levels. Instantaneous settlements with no need for centralised third parties and fees are a big plus. We’re a forward thinking company with ambitious growth plans, so this flexibility is important to us. Cryptocurrencies are a really exciting payment option.”

The study also revealed that other ways of paying have established a foothold amongst UK small businesses.

Almost half (46%) of SME owners questioned accept alternative currencies, with over a quarter (27%) involved in schemes such as the Bristol, Liverpool, Brixton and Lewes pound to encourage local spending. A further 15% said they accept national bartering schemes such as Bartercard, with 11% taking regional gift vouchers.

Guy Moreve, head of marketing at Paymentsense said: “It’s clear that cryptocurrencies are moving swiftly towards the mainstream. However, small business owners considering cryptocurrency as a payment option should be clear about how they can integrate it with their existing financial arrangements. Will suppliers or staff accept it? Can they pay local and national government agencies with it?

“Also, the value of unregulated cryptocurrency changes fast. This has significant implications for an SME’s revenue security. Using a trusted merchant account provider to accept credit cards can help guard against this by allowing a swift currency exchange, and improve security processes. For entrepreneurs in emerging sectors it might be worth the risks involved, but for others in more established or slower-moving areas it could be wiser to wait and see how things evolve over the next 12 to 24 months.”

* Commissioned research took place from January 17-21, 2018 amongst a nationally representative sample of 504 small business owners. For more information please contact yanis.zisis@paymentsense.com

About Paymentsense

As Europe’s largest merchant services provider, Paymentsense enables over 70,000 SMEs to process over £6 billion worth of card payments per year. From card machines to semi-integrated solutions and payment gateways, Paymentsense supplies small businesses with card processing solutions that allow them to take payments in store, online, over the phone and on the move.

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